1 August 1997

More lookers than

buyers for tractors

CALCULATORS to compare finance packages were more valuable than glossy brochures for would-be tractor buyers at the Royal Welsh Show.

While some traders chose to use bold 0% finance and delayed payment stickers, the majority preferred to strike individual deals to suit individual farm circumstances.

"Much of the demand in Wales is for 80hp to 100hp medium specification models for livestock farms," said Elwyn Evans, MSF sales manager for the area that includes the showground.

"This event is traditionally a shop window of available stockman models, but there are more people looking than buying this year. We have sold only one 82hp £19,000 tractor on site, but have had some serious inquiries.

"Tractor sales are down despite some excellent financial deals. Price is important, but orders are going to companies able to offer the best tailor-made package that structures repayments to match livestock farm cash flows."

Mr Evans added that uncertainty about milk, beef and lamb prices was likely to continue undermining tractor demand, but the struggle to keep dated machinery working was providing work for MSFs six machinery workshops, and keeping used tractor sales buoyant.

As usual most manufacturers and dealers displayed their stockman models, but the cheapest was one of 30 low specification Zetor models imported from the Czech Republic. Lacking 4-wheel drive, the 75hp £10,950 tractor was targeted at lowland livestock producers with little to invest.

"Our whole range is very economically priced, which is why our sales are 10% up this year," claimed Andrew Martin, Zetors UK sales director. "Many of the farmers attending the Royal Welsh are not in the market for powerful high specification tractors, which is especially true in the wake of the BSE crisis. They want a good deal on reasonably priced models that can do the job required."